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Federal Reserve prohibition orders

Our review of the records on the Federal Reserve Board's website reveals that in the last quarter of 2020, the Federal Reserve Banks issued three letters of prohibition from the banking industry for criminal convictions or entering into pretrial diversion or similar programs, for crimes involving dishonest or breach of trust.

  • Carlos Wydler, a former employee of Farmers and Merchants Bank, Long Beach, California, who was convicted and found guilty on counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, false statement to obtain credit, wire fraud, mail fraud, and misappropriation (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)
  • Tracy L. Amburgey, a former employee of Peoples Bank & Trust Company, Hazard, Kentucky, who entered into a pretrial diversion or similar program in connection with an indictment that charged her with theft by deception (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
  • Kelly Rene Salisbury, a former employee of First Community Bank, Bluefield, Virginia, who was convicted upon a plea of guilty of embezzlement (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)


FinCEN submits renewal of CTR DOEP requirements

FinCEN has published [86 FR 6964] a notice and request for comments on its proposed renewal, without change, of the currently approved information collection that permits banks to file a FinCEN Report 110, Designation of Exempt Person, to designate eligible customers as exempt persons with respect to CTR filing.

Although no changes are proposed to the information collection itself, this request for comments covers a future expansion of the scope of the annual hourly burden and cost estimate associated with these regulations. Comments are due by March 26, 2021.


FTC presses first cases under BOTS Act

The Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against three ticket brokers based in New York who allegedly used automated software to illegally buy up tens of thousands of tickets for popular concerts and sporting events, then subsequently made millions of dollars reselling the tickets to fans at higher prices.

The three ticket brokers will be subject to a judgment of more than $31 million in civil penalties for violating the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, under a proposed settlement reached with the FTC. Due to their inability to pay, the judgment will be partially suspended, requiring them to pay $3.7 million.

These are the first cases brought under the BOTS Act, which was enacted in 2016 and gives the FTC authority to take law enforcement action against Individuals and companies that use bots or other means to circumvent limits on online ticket purchases.


Effort to ensure CARES Act payments are received

Treasury has issued a Fact Sheet announcing it will work to help households who have not yet been able to access their stimulus payments get much-needed relief. As many as 8 million households may be eligible for but have not yet received payments from the CARES Act signed in March; many of these households could be legally entitled to as much as $1,200 per adult. As the Treasury Department works to secure a full $2,000 in direct payments for adults as part of the proposed American Rescue Plan, it will take steps designed to reach as many of these missed households as possible – providing financial relief to a population that may be especially struggling during the pandemic and economic crisis.


SAR exemption proposals published

The OCC's, NCUA's, and FDIC's December 2020 proposals to permit, with FinCEN agreement, certain exceptions to SAR filing requirements, have been published in this morning's Federal Register, with a comment period ending on February 22, 2021. The Federal Reserve Board has published a similar proposal, with the same comment period.


OCC enforcement actions

The OCC has issued a list of enforcement actions taken in November and December 2020 and January 2021 against OCC-supervised institutions and individuals now or formerly affiliated with such institutions. In addition to the previously announced civil money penalty and cease and desist order against the former General Counsel for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., the list includes:

  • a civil money penalty of $382,500 against USAA FSB, San Antonio, Texas, for Flood Act violations
  • a civil money penalty of $10,000 against a former CFO of Golden Pacific Bank, N.A., Sacramento, California, for deliberately filing false Call Report data
  • a prohibition order against a former mortgage specialist at First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, for initiating unauthorized internal fund transfers totaling $10,233 from bank general ledger accounts to a personal mortgage account, and making false entries to conceal the transfers
  • a Notice of Charges for a cease and desist order and a $30,000 civil money penalty against a former president, CEO and board chairman of cfsbank, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, involving significant overdraft activity of a bank customer, bank loans to that customer, and failure to supervise bank employees to whom he had delegated supervision of account overdrafts.


Extension of FHA foreclosure and eviction moratorium

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Office of Native American Programs’ Section 184 and 184A loan guarantee programs through March 31, 2021.


Reserve Bank officials reappointed

The Federal Reserve Board yesterday announced the approval of the reappointment of 12 Federal Reserve Bank presidents and 11 first vice presidents, as previously made by their respective boards of directors. Each individual has been approved to serve a new five-year term beginning March 1, 2021. A search is underway for a first vice president for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to replace Michael Strine, who retired on February 28, 2021.


Acting chairs of FTC and SEC named

President Biden has named Rebecca Kelly Slaughter the acting chair of the Federal Trade Commission, and Allison Herren Lee the acting chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Kraninger resigns as CFPB Director

CFPB Director Kraninger announced Wednesday that she is resigning from her position at the request of the Biden administration. Her resignation was effective yesterday. President Biden will reportedly nominate Federal Trade Commission head Rohit Chopra to head the CFPB.

Pending the nomination and confirmation of a new CFPB director, President Biden has designated David Uejio, the Bureau's chief strategy officer, to be the CFPB's acting director.

Other acting leaders of departments and agencies pertinent to banks include:

  • Matt Ammonn, acting secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Andy Baukol, acting secretary, Department of the Treasury
  • Rob Fairweather, acting director, Office of Management and Budget
  • Tami Perriello, acting administrator, Small Business Administration
  • Kevin Shea, acting secretary, Department of Agriculture
  • Al Stewart, acting secretary, Department of Labor


Some pending rules may be slowed

As is typically the practice when there is a change of Administrations in Washington, Executive Branch agencies will temporarily slow their implementation of pending or proposed rules to allow President Biden's appointees or designees the opportunity to review them.

In a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, the White House has directed that no rules (with exceptions for emergency situations or urgent circumstances) should be proposed, issued, or sent to the Federal Register until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the president after yesterday's inauguration reviews and approves the rule. Rules sent to the Office of the Federal Register but not yet published will immediately be withdrawn. Departments and agencies that have published rules that have not taken effect, should consider postponing their effective dates for 60 days to review any questions of fact, law and policy they might raise.

Rules subject to statutory or judicial deadlines will not be delayed or postponed.

Independent agencies such as the Fed, FDIC, and OCC are generally considered not to be subject to the memorandum.


CFPB issues rule on HPML escrow exemption

The CFPB has issued a final rule amending section 1026.35 of Regulation Z to implement a requirement of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA). The final rule exempts certain insured depository institutions and insured credit unions from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for certain higher-priced mortgage loans (HPMLs).

The rule will take effect on publication in the Federal Register. It exempts from the HPML escrow requirement any loan made by an insured depository institution or insured credit union and secured by a first lien on the principal dwelling of a consumer if (1) the institution has assets of $10 billion or less; (2) the institution and its affiliates originated 1,000 or fewer loans secured by a first lien on a principal dwelling during the preceding calendar year; and (3) certain of the existing HPML escrow exemption criteria are met (one or more covered first-lien-secured transactions in a rural or underserved area in the prior year, and no escrow accounts maintained on real estate secured consumer credit other than escrow accounts established for first-lien HPMLs for which applications were received on or after April 1, 2010, and before 120 days after publication of this rule; or escrow accounts established after consummation as an accommodation to distressed consumers to assist such consumers in avoiding default or foreclosure).


FinCEN submits renewal of recordkeeping requirement

FinCEN has published at 86 FR 6411 in the January 21 Federal Register a notice and request for comments for the proposed renewal, without change, of its currently approved recordkeeping requirement for the issuance or sale of bank checks and drafts, cashier’s checks, money orders, and traveler’s checks when the issuance or sale involves the use of currency in an amount between $3,000 and $10,000, inclusive. Although no changes are proposed to the information collection itself, the request for comments covers a future expansion of the scope of the annual hourly burden and cost estimate associated with these regulations.

Comments will be accepted for 60 days, through March 22, 2021.


Foreclosure and REO eviction moratoriums extended

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend the moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned evictions until February 28, 2021. The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties that have been acquired by an Enterprise through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. The current moratoriums were set to expire on January 31, 2021.


SBA FAQs on second draw PPP loans

SBA has issued a January 19 series of FAQs (Use the download PDF button on the page) with guidance to assist businesses in calculating their revenue reduction and payroll costs (and the relevant documentation that is required to support each set of calculations) for purposes of determining their eligibility for and amount of a Second Draw PPP Loan. The FAQs focus on the topics of Revenue Reduction and Maximum Second Draw PPP Loan Amounts.


Agencies issue final rules on supervisory guidance

The CFPB, FDIC, NCUA and the OCC have each issued a final rule that codifies the Interagency Statement Clarifying the Role of Supervisory Guidance issued on September 11, 2018 by the OCC, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, NCUA and the CFPB. By codifying the 2018 Statement, with amendments, the final rule confirms that the OCC, FDIC, and Bureau will continue to follow and respect the limits of administrative law in carrying out their supervisory responsibilities.

Unlike a law or regulation, supervisory guidance does not have the force and effect of law and the agencies not take enforcement actions or issue supervisory criticisms based on non-compliance with supervisory guidance. Rather, supervisory guidance outlines supervisory expectations and priorities, or articulates views regarding appropriate practices for a given subject area.

In contrast to supervisory guidance, regulations do have the force and effect of law and enforcement actions can be taken if regulated institutions are in violation. Regulations are also generally required to go through the notice and comment process.


FHFA RFI on climate and natural disaster management

The FHFA yesterday issued a Request for Input (RFI) on the current and future natural disaster risk to the housing finance system and to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the Federal Home Loan Banks—collectively the regulated entities. The information that FHFA is requesting will enhance the Agency's ability to fulfill its statutory mission to ensure that the regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner. The RFI raises questions about two broad sets of issues: identifying and assessing climate and natural disaster risk and enhancing FHFA's supervisory and regulatory framework.


Fed updates capital planning requirements

The Federal Reserve Board has announced a final rule that updates the Board's capital planning requirements to be consistent with other Board rules that were recently modified. The final rule is generally similar to the proposal. In 2019, the Board finalized a framework that sorts large banks into different categories based on their risks, with requirements that are tailored to the risks of each category. The Board's capital planning requirements for these large banks help ensure they plan for and determine their capital needs under a range of different scenarios.

The rule finalized yesterday reflects that new framework. In particular, firms in the lowest risk category are on a two-year stress test cycle and not subject to company-run stress test requirements. In a change from the proposal, the final rule applies capital planning requirements to large savings and loan holding companies that are not predominantly engaged in insurance or commercial activities.

The rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.


OCC Community Development Investments Newsletter

The OCC has published the latest edition of its Community Developments Investments newsletter, “Strengthening Communities With Opportunity Zone Investments.” This edition of Community Developments Investments explains how banks can support distressed communities by making investments in tax-advantaged qualified opportunity funds (QOF) as part of their community development strategies. For example, the newsletter highlights transactions in which a national bank created and sponsored its own QOF. The newsletter also highlights banks that invested in QOFs sponsored by third-party intermediaries. The newsletter discusses tools that banks can use to evaluate the social and economic benefits created by QOF-financed projects in designated opportunity zones.


FDIC revises appeals guidelines

The FDIC Board has adopted revised Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations. The revised guidelines are intended to enhance the independence of appeals decisions and to clarify the procedures and timeframes that apply to appeals when the FDIC is taking a formal enforcement action. The revised guidelines generally replace the existing Supervision Appeals Review Committee (SARC) with an independent, standalone office within the FDIC, known as the Office of Supervisory Appeals (Office). The revised guidelines will take effect when the Office is fully operational; the current guidelines will remain in effect until that time. The FDIC will publish a notice to inform institutions when this occurs. Chairman McWilliams issued a statement on the changes.


FinCEN reopens comment period on CVC/LTDA proposal

On January 15, FinCEN published [86 FR 3897] a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on recordkeeping and reporting of certain transactions involving convertible virtual currency (“CVC”) or digital assets with legal tender status (“legal tender digital assets” or “LTDA”), identifying additional authority for its proposed rule published on December 23, 2020, providing additional information regarding the reporting form, and reopening the comment period.

FinCEN is providing an additional 17 days (through 2/1/2021) for comments on the proposed reporting requirements regarding information on CVC or LTDA transactions greater than $10,000, or aggregating to greater than $10,000, that involve unhosted wallets or wallets hosted in a jurisdiction identified by FinCEN. FinCEN is providing an additional 45 days (through 3/1/2021) for comments on the proposed requirements that banks and MSBs report certain information regarding counterparties to transactions by their hosted wallet customers, and on the proposed recordkeeping requirements.

In the supplemental notice, FinCEN said that a final rule implementing the proposed reporting requirements would be effective 30 days after its publication, except that the requirement to report counterparty information (if adopted) would not take effect for 60 days.


FAQs on SARs and other AML considerations

The FDIC, Federal Reserve Board, FinCEN, NCUA, and OCC have issued responses to frequently asked questions regarding suspicious activity reporting and other AML considerations for financial institutions that are required to submit Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

The answers clarify SAR/AML requirements in order to assist financial institutions with their compliance obligations and enable them to focus resources on activities that produce the greatest value to law enforcement agencies and other government users of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting.

The FAQs address the following topics:

  • requests by law enforcement to maintain accounts
  • receipt of grand jury subpoenas and law enforcement inquiries
  • maintaining customer relationships following the filing of SARs
  • filing SARs based on negative news media searches
  • information provided in SAR data and narrative fields
  • SAR character limits

The FAQs neither alter existing BSA/AML requirements, nor establish new supervisory expectations.


LendUp Loans to pay $950,000 under settlement

The CFPB has announced a proposed settlement to resolve its December 4, 2020, lawsuit against LendUp Loans, LLC (LendUp) alleging violations of the Military Lending Act (MLA). This is the first resolution in the Bureau’s broader sweep of investigations of multiple lenders that may be violating the MLA.

LendUp, which has its principal place of business in Oakland, California, is an online lender that offers single-payment and installment loans to consumers. If entered by the court, the proposed settlement would require LendUp to provide $300,000 in redress to consumers and to pay a $950,000 civil money penalty. The settlement would also enjoin LendUp from committing future violations of the MLA and from collecting on, selling, or assigning any debts arising from loans that failed to comply with the MLA. It would also require LendUp to correct or update the information it provided to consumer reporting agencies about affected consumers.


OFAC targets Venezuelan oil sector sanctions evaders

The Treasury Department announced yesterday that OFAC has designated three individuals, fourteen entities, and six vessels for their ties to a network attempting to evade United States sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector. The principal actors designated include Alessandro Bazzoni, Francisco Javier D’Agostino Casado, Philipp Paul Vartan Apikian, Elemento Ltd, and Swissoil Trading SA. Also designated were nine entities owned or controlled by Bazzoni, D’Agostino, or Elemento, and a number of maritime entities and vessels.

For additional information on the targets of OFAC's action and other designations made by the State Department, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


60,000 PPP loan applications approved, posts updates

The SBA has reported it has approved approximately 60,000 PPP loan applications submitted by nearly 3,000 lenders, for over $5 billion, between the program’s re-opening on Monday, January 11, at 9 a.m. ET through to Sunday, January 17. Last week, the PPP provided dedicated access to community financial institutions that specialize in serving underserved communities, including minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses from Monday through Thursday, joined Friday by smaller lenders. As of yesterday, January 19, the Paycheck Protection Program is open to all participating lenders.

The SBA also released, yesterday evening, updated SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Forms 3508 and 3508EZ and an interim final rule on Loan Forgiveness Requirements and Loan Review Procedures (click the red "Download .pdf" button to save the file before opening).


OCC fines former Wells Fargo General Counsel

The OCC has fined Wells Fargo Bank's former General Counsel James Strother $3.5 million for his role in the bank's system sales practices misconduct. The penalty was assessed as part of a settlement with Mr. Strother of charges filed in January 2020, that had called for a $5 million civil money penalty. As part of the settlement, which also included a cease and desist order, Mr. Strother agreed to cooperate with the OCC in any investigation, litigation, or administrative proceeding related to sales practices misconduct at the bank.


Bureau sues 1st Alliance Lending

The CFPB announced on Friday it has filled a lawsuit against 1st Alliance Lending, LLC, John Christopher DiIorio, Kevin Robert St. Lawrence, and Socrates Aramburu for allegedly engaging in various unlawful mortgage-lending practices. 1st Alliance, based in Hartford, Connecticut, originated residential mortgages from 2004 to September 2019 and stopped operating in November 2019. DiIorio was its chief executive officer and he, St. Lawrence, and Aramburu were 1st Alliance’s three managing executives.

The Bureau alleges that 1st Alliance, with DiIorio’s, St. Lawrence’s, and Aramburu’s participation, knowledge, and direction, violated the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Mortgage Acts and Practices—Advertising Rule, and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. The Bureau’s complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeks injunctions against the defendants, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties.


Last-minute PPP guidance and notices from SBA


Cuban Ministry of Interior and leader sanctioned

On Friday, January 15, the Treasury Department announced that OFAC had designated the Cuban Ministry of Interior and the Minister of Interior, Lazaro Alberto Álvarez Casas, for serious human rights abuse, pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.

For identification information for these designations and other additions and updates to OFAC's SDN List, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


OFAC issues Hong Kong-related sanctions rule

OFAC has posted a notice that it issued, on Friday, January 15, 2021, regulations to implement Executive Order 13936 of July 14, 2020, "Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization." The rule adds a new Hong King-related sanctions regulation at 31 CFR part 585, with a January 15, 2021, effective date.


Payroll support for airline industry employees

Secretary Mnuchin on Friday announced the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved more than $12 billion in payroll support for major passenger air carriers to support airline industry workers. Treasury made the first PSP2 payments to passenger air carriers Friday, disbursing a total of $6.1 billion to major air carriers to support hundreds of thousands of jobs. To protect taxpayers, Treasury received notes and warrants from these carriers, as required under Section 408 of the PSP Extension Law.


G.17 industrial data posted

The Federal Reserve Board on Friday released the current G.17 Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization Report. Industrial production advanced 1.6 percent in December, with gains of 0.9 percent for manufacturing, 1.6 percent for mining, and 6.2 percent for utilities. The increase for utilities resulted from a rebound in demand for heating after unseasonably warm weather in November. For the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production rose at an annual rate of 8.4 percent. At 105.7 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in December was 3.6 percent lower than it was a year earlier and 3.3 percent below its pre-pandemic February reading. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector rose 1.1 percentage points in December to 74.5 percent, a rate that is 5.3 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average.


Fourth quarter call report info

The FDIC has posted in FIL-2-2021 the materials for to the Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (Call Report) for the December 31, 2020, report date. Financial institutions should plan to complete as early as possible the preparation, editing, and review of their institution’s Call Report data and the submission of these data to the agencies’ Central Data Repository (CDR). Starting this preparation early will help institutions identify and resolve any edit exceptions before the submission deadline. If they later find that certain information needs to be revised, they should make the appropriate changes to their Call Report data and promptly submit the revised data file to the CDR.


Capital One to pay $390M for BSA/AML violations

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has announced that Capital One, National Association, has been assessed a $390,000,000 civil money penalty for engaging in both willful and negligent violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations. FinCEN determined and Capital One admitted to willfully failing to implement and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. Capital One also admitted that it willfully failed to file thousands of Suspicious Activity Reports and negligently failed to file thousands of Currency Transaction Reports with respect to a particular business unit known as the Check Cashing Group.

The violations occurred from at least 2008 through 2014, and caused millions of dollars in suspicious transactions to go unreported in a timely and accurate manner, including proceeds connected to organized crime, tax evasion, fraud, and other financial crimes laundered through the bank into the U.S. financial system. Capital One admitted to the facts set forth by FinCEN and acknowledged that its conduct violated the BSA and regulations codified at 31 C.F.R. Chapter X.

For additional information, see "Capital One, NA, pays $390M for BSA violations".


Oklahoma housing provider alleged discrimination resolved

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that the Department has reached a Conciliation Agreement with Vintage Housing, Inc., and Wilhoit Properties, Inc, the owner and manager of Cardinal Heights and Carriage Crossing senior apartments in Collinsville and Coweta, Oklahoma. The agreement resolves allegations that the housing providers removed bibles and Christian reading material from the properties’ common areas. Under the settlement, the housing providers agreed, among other things, to develop new policies regarding the display of religious materials for use in all the residences they manage or own and provide fair housing training for employees, with a portion dedicated to religious discrimination.


Fannie and Freddie stock purchase agreements amended

The Department of the Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency have announced an agreement to amend the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) between Treasury and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Government Sponsored Enterprises or GSEs) to move the GSEs toward capitalization levels consistent with their size, risk, and importance to the U.S. economy, and to codify several existing FHFA conservatorship practices, including providing small lender protections and limiting future increases in certain higher risk lending practices. The agreement also outlines a plan for Treasury, in consultation with the FHFA, to develop a proposal for continued GSE reform.


NCUA Board actions

The NCUA Board (NCUA) has held its first open meeting of 2021 and announced its approval of approved six items:

  • A proposed rule that would raise the asset threshold for defining a credit union as “complex” for purposes of being subject to any risk-based net worth requirement
  • An advance notice of proposed rulemaking that solicits comments on two approaches to simplify risk-based capital requirements
  • A proposed rule that would add the “S” component to the existing CAMEL rating system and redefine the “L” component
  • A proposed rule expanding the list of permissible activities and services for credit union service organizations
  • A final rule clarifying that corporate credit unions may purchase subordinated debt instruments
  • The NCUA’s 2021 Annual Performance Plan


Indianapolis' Newspaper Credit Union conserved

The NCUA has placed Indianapolis’ Newspaper Federal Credit Union, Indianapolis, Indiana, into conservatorship because of unsafe and unsound practices at the credit union. While continuing normal member services, the NCUA will work to resolve issues affecting the credit union’s operations. Indianapolis’ Newspaper Federal Credit Union is a federally insured, federally chartered credit union with 1,155 members and assets of $6,604,355 according to the credit union’s most recent Call Report.


New letter of agreement required for PPPLF

A new letter of agreement (LOA) is required to receive new advances from the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF). The program will continue to be available to eligible participants that pledge any SBA-guaranteed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans that they have originated or purchased, which may include second draw loans or loans that are increased pursuant to the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Economic Aid Act). All PPP loans pledged to the PPPLF must meet all applicable SBA and PPPLF requirements. Any institution that plans to request a new advance under the PPPLF must execute an updated LOA as amended on January 14, 2021.


OCC Virtual Bank Director Workshops announced

The OCC has announced its 2021 schedule of free, virtual workshops for directors of national banks and federal savings associations. Four virtual workshops are offered:

  • Building Blocks: Keys to Success for Directors and Senior Management
  • Risk Governance: Improving Director Effectiveness
  • Credit Risk: Directors Can Make a Difference
  • Operational Risk: Navigating Rapid Changes

The schedule of the workshops and registration are available on the OCC's website.


MOU signed by NCUA and CFPB

The National Credit Union Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau executed a memorandum of understanding to improve coordination between the agencies related to the consumer protection supervision of credit unions over $10 billion dollars in assets. Under this MOU, the CFPB and NCUA will pursue opportunities to proactively and efficiently share supervisory information, including drafts of Covered Reports of Examination and final Reports of Examination for credit unions over $10 billion dollars in assets, using secure, two-way electronic means. The CFPB and NCUA will jointly collaborate in semi-annual strategy planning sessions to identify and address areas of alignment and coordination in examinations for covered institutions.


Digital bank conditionally approved

The OCC yesterday announced conditional approval of the conversion of Anchorage Trust Company, a South Dakota chartered trust company, to become Anchorage Digital Bank, National Association. The OCC granted a national trust bank charter to Anchorage after thorough review of the company and its current operations. As an enforceable condition of approval, the company entered into an operating agreement which sets forth, among other things, capital and liquidity requirements and the OCC’s risk management expectations.


Regular coin distribution returns

Federal Reserve Services announced yesterday that regular coin distribution for all coin denominations will return on January 15. Order caps will be removed for nickels, the last denomination that has had coin order caps in place since June 2020. Financial institutions will be able to place orders for coin from the Federal Reserve without limits and should be able to do the same for their customer orders.

Thanks to steady deposits from financial institutions and increased U.S. Mint production, the Federal Reserve Banks are now able to end coin allocation. However, coin circulation has not fully returned to its normal pre-pandemic patterns. As long as the same conditions that led to coin circulation challenges in 2020 are still in place, the Federal Reserve, U.S. Coin Task Force, and the cash supply chain will continue to closely monitor the health of the coin supply chain and stand ready to respond.


January 2021 Beige Book

The Federal Reserve Board has released the January 2021 Beige Book, a compilation of comments on U.S. economic activity received from contacts outside the Federal Reserve System..

Most Federal Reserve Districts reported that economic activity increased modestly since the previous Beige Book period, although conditions remained varied: Two Districts reported little or no change in activity, while two others noted a decline. Reports on consumer spending were mixed. Some Districts noted declines in retail sales and demand for leisure and hospitality services, largely owing to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and stricter containment measures. Most Districts reported an intensification of the ongoing shift from in-person shopping to online sales during the holiday season.

Auto sales weakened somewhat since the previous report, while activity in the energy sector was said to have expanded for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Manufacturing activity continued to recover in almost all Districts, despite increasing reports of supply chain challenges. Residential real estate activity remained strong, but accounts of weak conditions in commercial real estate markets persisted. Banking contacts saw little or no change in loan volumes, with some anticipating stronger demand from borrowers in coming months for new government-backed lending programs. Although the prospect of COVID-19 vaccines has bolstered business optimism for 2021 growth, this has been tempered by concern over the recent virus resurgence and the implications for near-term business conditions


Paycheck Protection Program reopening

The SBA and Treasury have announced the re-opening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications on Friday, January 15, 2021 at 9 am ET. The portal will fully open on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, to all participating PPP lenders to submit First and Second Draw loan applications to SBA. Updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources are available at and


OFAC targets Iranian foundations

Treasury announced yesterday that OFAC has taken action against two organizations controlled by the Supreme Leader of Iran— the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO) and Astan Quds Razavi (AQR)—along with their leaders and subsidiaries. While purportedly charitable organizations (bonyads), EIKO and AQR control large swaths of the Iranian economy, including assets expropriated from political dissidents and religious minorities, to the benefit of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian government officials. Alongside the previously designated Bonyad Mostazafan, itself controlled by the Supreme Leader, and the IRGC-owned Khatam al-Anbiya, AQR and EIKO are said to control more than half of the Iranian economy.

These persons were designated in accordance with Executive Order 13876, which targets the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian Supreme Leader’s Office, as well as their affiliates. For a full list of the designated individuals and entities and their identification information, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

OFAC also updated the SDN List entry for MIRJIRASH AL-MUHAMMADAWI, Abd al-Aziz Malluh.


Brooks stepping down

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks has announced he will step down today, January 14, 2021, and, in accordance with 12 USC 4, Chief Operating Officer Blake Paulson will become Acting Comptroller of the Currency.

“It has been a great honor to serve the United States as Acting Comptroller of the Currency,” Brooks said. “The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is the most extraordinary of federal agencies filled with the most dedicated, professional, and gifted staff any executive can hope to have. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together through what have been extraordinary times by any measure.”


CFPB statement on financial inclusion of LEP consumers

The CFPB has published a “Statement Regarding the Provision of Financial Products and Services to Consumers with Limited English Proficiency." The Statement provides principles and guidelines to inform and assist financial institutions seeking to better serve LEP consumers in non-English languages.


OCC finalizes Fair Access Rule

The OCC this morning released its finalized rule to ensure fair access to banking services provided by large national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign bank organizations. The rule codifies more than a decade of OCC guidance stating that banks should conduct risk assessment of individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers, when provisioning access to services, capital, and credit.

The rule applies to the largest banks with more than $100 billion in assets that may exert significant pricing power or influence over sectors of the national economy. Under the rule, banks still determine their product lines and geographic markets and are free to make legitimate business decisions about what and whom to serve. The rule requires covered banks to make those products and services they choose to offer available to all customers in the communities they serve, based on consideration of quantitative, impartial, risk-based standards established by the bank.

The rule will become effective April 1, 2021.


CDFI application Information

The NCUA has announced that federally insured, low-income credit unions seeking Community Development Financial Institution certification can apply to use the National Credit Union Administration’s streamlined qualification process beginning January 24.

CDFI certification makes credit unions eligible for CDFI Fund training and competitive award programs that enhance their capacity to provide underserved communities with access to insured, affordable financial services. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 authorizes additional COVID-19 relief funding for community development financial institutions that predominantly serve minority communities. Approximately a third of this additional funding includes a set-aside for smaller financial institutions with less than $2 billion in assets.


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